Friday, June 03, 2011

European E. Coli Outbreak Puts Spotlight on US Government Preparedness

David Acheson, Managing Director of Food and Import Safety at Leavitt Partners, pointed out in a recent CNBC interview, "You can't say it won't happen here. You have to assume it will happen. We need to ramp up our prevention controls." 

The National Center for Biomedical Research and Training (NCBRT), a member of the Food and Agriculture Protection Training Consortium (FAPTC), is offering DHS-certified and sponsored training at no direct cost to state and local food emergency responders. "A Coordinated Response to Food Emergencies: Practice and Execution" is designed to have an impact on limiting the devastation caused by contamination of the food supply.The course provides responders with training on food emergency response procedures with an emphasis on coordination between local, state and federal food and health officials. In the United Sates, communication among this patchwork of government agencies can lead to slow detection of illness and slow response in containing an outbreak.

"The deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe should not be a surprise. This type of outbreak could happen anywhere," said Thomas Tucker, NCBRT Director. "We are especially vulnerable here in the United States with our complex processing and distribution system and high volume of imported goods. That is why the NCBRT has gotten ahead of the game by developing and offering training to help prevent and prepare for such an incident."  

"We are pleased to support such a crucial course," says Jerry Wojtala, Executive Director with the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI). "This course is a key to preventing the devastating consequences a food contamination incident, like the one we're seeing now, can have if government, food industry and public health officials are unprepared."

The Food and Agriculture Protection Training Consortium (FAPTC), is comprised of eight university-based training centers along with the International Food Protection Training Institute.  It is focused on developing and delivering food protection training primarily to U.S. government regulatory officials at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels along with others responsible for safety of the U.S. food supply, such as industry, third party auditors and regulatory officials in other countries.  

FAPTC provides sustainable, standardized, current, peer-reviewed, on-demand training both domestically and internationally essential for the coordinated prevention and response to food safety incidents impacting the U.S. food supply and citizens. More information on FAPTC can be found at

NCBRT Contact:
Julie Cavin
Public Affairs & Outreach Coordinator, NCBRT
(225) 578-0619

IFPTI Contact:
Jerry Wojtala

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